Lack of Outdoor Space Will Prevent Large Number of Hospitality Venues Opening As Lockdown Partially Eased

While the partial easing of lockdown restrictions is being welcomed by the hospitality industry, the requirement that customers must remain outdoors means a great many businesses across the country will have no choice but to remain closed until restrictions are eased further. BBC News has the story.

A “large proportion” of hospitality businesses “won’t be able to open” on Monday, despite an easing of lockdown restrictions in England, because they do not have access to sufficient outdoor space. 

In England… restaurants and pubs [will be] allowed to serve food and alcohol to customers sitting outdoors.

But Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, told BBC Breakfast only two in every five venues would reopen. 

“The majority of the industry still has to cling on for five weeks,” said Ms Nicholls.

Nonetheless she said it was a “welcome restart” for those businesses that are able to comply with current coronavirus measures.

Ms Nicholls said that even those venues which can reopen will achieve nothing like their normal revenues: “They still aren’t going to break even… the best they are going to achieve outdoors is 20%.”

“Until we get to June 21st, hospitality won’t be able to be viable.”

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: Rachael Robathan, the the leader of Tory-run Westminster council, has urged the Government to bring forward indoor opening of pubs from May. She is quoted in the Telegraph.

The hospitality sector continues to face real peril, with difficult choices presented as a result of what the roadmap does and does not allow. 

The costs and challenges associated with a reopening limited to outdoor space, if there is indeed any available to them, means that many businesses have informed us that they must delay their reopening until May, slowing down the recovery.

This is a particular challenge for central London venues where there is less likelihood of businesses having access to outdoor space in the first place, compared to rural areas and market towns. 

For many premises, it is simply not viable to open, although we will continue our sector-leading al fresco programme to extend this opportunity to as many businesses as we can.

Worth reading in full.

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